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Brussels Needs to Rethink GM Policy, Says NIAB
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Brussels Needs to Rethink GM Policy, Says NIAB

Brussels Needs to Rethink GM Policy, Says NIAB
News

Brussels Needs to Rethink GM Policy, Says NIAB

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Brussels Needs to Rethink GM Policy, Says NIAB

- Ian Ashbridge, Farmers Weekly (UK),  July 3, 2009 http://www.fwi.co.uk

The EU must radically re-think its stance on GM crop technology if western agriculture is to deliver food and fuel for future generations, according to one of the UK's leading plant scientists.

Speaking to a conference of international agri-investment funds this week, Tina Barsby, chief executive of the National Institute of Agricultural Botany, said that Brussels' policy on GM crops was "outdated and inadequate". Dr Barsby said no GM technology had received EU approval for cultivation in over a decade.

"GM technology is demonstrably not inherently dangerous. The EU needs to release the log-jam of production in the pipeline [that it is causing] and review its process-driven regulatory framework which is inadequate and outdated.", Dr Barsby said Brussels veto on rolling out GM culitvars was hamstringing western Europe's ability to produce more food to meet population growth and tackle climate change.

"[Brussels'] lack of respect for scientific decision making is leading to lack of investment." It was essential that GM technology was adopted as part of a wider effort to improve food production or Europe would be "left in the dust", she said. "Monsanto predicts a doubling of maize and soya yields by 2030 and that's not just by GM technology alone.

By 2015, the US private sector predicts more than 20 transgenes for insect resistance, nitrogen use efficiency and drought tolerance. Europe - and therefore cereals - will be left behind," she said.

Another conference speaker, Syngenta Seeds's chief executive Davor Pisk, agreed with Dr Barsby. "Politics are trumping science. Even when the G8 nations are calling for more technology, the EU upholds its ban." Mr Pisk said that for agriculture to address the critical challenges of producing food and energy in the future, "the full toolbox" was needed. "We need science-based regulation," he said.

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